GRATEFUL LAYS

I went to a prep school once upon a time — just me and five hundred other bewildered boys off in the woods of New Hampshire.  We were required to attend chapel eight times a week in the building above.

On the last night of every term, “The Last Night Hymn” was sung there.  These are some of the words:

Saviour source of every blessing,
Tune my heart to grateful lays:
Streams of mercy never ceasing,
Call for ceaseless songs of praise.

It's a song for Thanksgiving, too.  The phrase “count your blessings” has never had much resonance for me.  With streams of mercy never ceasing, you might as well count the drops of water in a river flowing past you.

The image of the streams of mercy was called into my consciousness three times a year from the time I was thirteen to the time I was eighteen.  It's taken all the rest of my life to begin to understand what it means.

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